Letter from Inez: 2015 GBA Summit

Thursday 15th October 2015

Inez MurrayThanks again to everybody who joined us for the Alliance’s Summit meeting in São Paulo! We gathered an unprecedented number of members, many of them new, and had an intense, productive and thoroughly enjoyable 3 days of presentations and discussions.

Several recurring themes emerged. First, the need for sex-disaggregated data. While we have always emphasized the importance of data within banks for building the business case for their Women’s Market programs, we also discussed the use of data to build better financial sector development policy. During our Global Data Symposium, regulators and bankers shared their perspectives on the potential of data to promote market development, not just in emerging markets, but in all countries.

A second theme was deepening our understanding of strategies that work for different segments of the Women’s Market, from high net worth individuals to the unbanked. We explored strategies that work to support women by lifecycle event, including education, health and retirement, and we looked at examples of what insurance companies and FinTech companies are doing to serve the Women’s Market. We also announced our decision to diversify our own membership beyond banks, to include other financial services companies such as insurance companies and asset management companies. These exciting changes are meant to recognize that if we are to serve all women well, we need to broaden our influence.

A third theme was building organizational buy-in for a Women’s Market program, a perennial but pressing concern. We have seen challenges at some banks, as programs are isolated — for example in the SME division — unable to leave behind their ‘special project’ status in order to grow into a full-blown commercial program, or unable to keep growing when the Champion leaves the bank. In most banks, the work of ensuring the distribution network understands, buys-in and implements the Women’s Market program is a daily task.

This year we also announced the honorees in our first-ever GBA Women’s Market Champion awards, celebrating members of the Alliance that have launched programs since we last met in DC at the 2014 Summit. The eight award winners were, in alphabetical order: Access Bank Plc, Nigeria, for its “W” initiative; Banco BHD León, Dominican Republic, for its Mujer Mujer program; BancoEstado, Chile, for its Crece Mujer program; Bank al Etihad, Jordan, for its Shorouq program; Centenary Bank, Uganda, for its Supawoman Club; Diamond Bank, Nigeria, for its Diamond Woman initiative; HBL, Pakistan, for its Women’s Market program; and TEB, Turkey, for its TEB Women Banking program.

I cannot sign off without a special word of thanks to Itaú Unibanco for their outstanding generosity in hosting our Summit. It was brilliantly executed by their staff and so thoroughly enjoyed by all. An impressive bank by any measure, the team shared their awesome new value proposition for the women of Brazil and their audacious objective of reaching 1 million as proof of concept! This will be a game changer in Brazil and in Latin America. I know the entire Alliance joins me in thanking them and wishing them every success.

I will end with the wise words of Dr. Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, Deputy Governor, Bank of Zambia: Start the conversation.

We have the blueprint, we have the business case, now let’s globalize it.




Inez Murray, Chief Executive Officer
Global Banking Alliance for Women